This is perhaps one of the most controversial election cycles in US history, with a nation firmly divided and the glimmer of potential for a viable third-party candidate finally being bandied about. With the chaos–and yes, embarrassment–that has embodied the campaigns, the November election promises to be a spectacle.
Which is one reason you would think elections all across the country, everything from major office primaries to the chief of garbage collection in the smallest towns, would do everything they can to ensure that there’s complete transparency and no room for accusations of misconduct.
Unfortunately, the data breach that stole two states’ voter databases–a feat later blamed on Russian hackers–is only the tip of the iceberg in the country’s controversy. Now, a county in Florida has admitted that a software glitch held up the announcement of the results by almost four hours.
Lake County officials claimed that the software that accumulated the voters’ submissions at the polls didn’t connect with the separate software title that analyzed all of the submissions and produced the winning tallies. As a result, officials had to drive to all of the polling places and collect the backup flash drives from those locations’ computers, then analyze the votes themselves and tally them.
Ordinarily, this sounds like a well-thought out plan B: if the software doesn’t work, you simply count up the backup data. It’s what companies of every size around the world have to do in the event of a tech failure. Unfortunately, the results from the county’s election were somewhat surprising, with several upset victories over incumbent candidates, one who’d been in his position for 24 years. That may leave voters with the unsettling feeling that their votes were manipulated by “faulty” software, especially considering the “hanging chad” debacle that resulted in George W. Bush being elected President.
So far, the candidates who lost the ability to be on the ballot in November have not cited any fraud in this instance, but when November’s full elections take place, data breaches and software glitches have the potential to lead to an all-out riot.